Tuesday, February 10, 2009


A few pictures and a quick update on what we have accomplished aboard "Footloose".
Upon bringing our new old boat home several things were immediately on my wish list. A working depth sounder first on that list. We tried repairing the ancient Brooks and gatehouse unit to no avail and finally bit the bullet and bought a new Raymarine st60 unit. Rather than haul the boat I bedded the transducer in resin hoping for the best. Luckily it works wonderfully well and we can add the through hull transducer if we wish at the next routine haulout.

Second on my list was a navigation system. I used a Garmin GPS and paper charts on the trip from Port Townsend and while it worked it was nerve racking for me to constantly be peering at the tiny chartlet on the Garmin screen and hoping my translation of position to the paper chart was accurate. Initially I aquired The Rose Point/Maptech Coastal navigator program and used my laptop for navigation. this worked well and with the addition of a laptop mount to the nav station bulkhead was secure. With the addition of a Raymarine x-5 Autopilot this spring , aswell as A.I.S. it became a bit cumbersome to be plugging and unplugging cables and resetting com ports. The solution? A dedicated computer onboard. We went with an Acer Veriton L460 which has a very small footprint and is pretty much overkill as far as speed and capacity goes. A 19" flat screen monitor mounted to the bulkhead on a swing mount affords good visibility and the added benefit of being able to swing the display toward the salon for videos.

We now have a system that integrates GPS, A.I.S, Autopilot and electronic navigation. All at a fracton of the cost of what a proprietary system would cost. The hardest part of the installation by far was the cabling for the autopilot fluxgate compass, control head, course computer and drive unit. The computer end of things was basically plug and play. We used a Noland Multiplexer to bridge the USB computer ports to the NMEA and Seatalk components and it works like a charm. The Rose Point/Maptech program is intuitive and laying out routes is the work of seconds. Need to edit your course while under way? Just drag and drop your waypoints and re-send to the GPS and you are good to go. Best of all we are free from the tyranny of the wheel. It is a blast to watch the boat steer herself while one attends to the other pressing matters onboard.

A little history

In this post I would like to introduce myself and my boat " Footloose IV". My name is Chris Hogan and my home port is Astoria Oregon. I am 51 years old and currently work as a registered nurse in the local E.R. . Sailing has been a pleasant obsession for me since my twenties. I wish I could report that I have sailed the world but my voyages to this point have been limited to the pacific northwest. My most common outing is daysailing on the mighty Columbia river and the occasional foray over the Columbia bar into the pacific ocean.

I have made several trips up and down the coast visiting the San Juan islands, Canada, and the straits of Juan de Fuca.

We found "Footloose IV" in the Port Townsend area two years ago. Her owner at the timehad trucked her over from Chicago and my understanding is she was a " project boat" ( an appelation that should strike fear in the heart of any reasonable man). Fortunately the gentleman had the talent and the means to return "Footloose" to a useable state and when we first saw her she was functional though not really fully found, lacking a working depth sounder and a few other things.

We brought her home to Astoria in a two day trip noteably free of any wind. Forty some hours of confused seas, deisel noise and exhaust fumes. Needless to say we were glad to cross the bar and sail (finally) up the river to Astoria.


Welcome to The Able Seaman's blog. I am a longtime sailor and currently the co-owner of a 1976 Dufour 35. I plan to share my experiences with "Footloose" and hope to hear from those with a similar interest in sailboats and sailing.